NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Texas Rangers wanted catcher Mike Napoli back. But when the Boston Red Sox came in with a three-year, $39 million offer (according to a source), the Rangers just didn't want to match.
General manager Jon Daniels didn't get into details, but he didn't hide the fact that the Rangers made a call on Napoli.
"Ultimately, we had a decision to make and it's not like we weren't a big reason that didn't happen," Daniels said in reference to Napoli not returning to Texas. "I think Mike was a huge part of probably the best team in the history of this franchise. I don't take that lightly."
So in the spirit of the Winter Meetings, let's pretend we're all GMs (knowing, of course, that there's a good reason we're not). Do you give Napoli that third year at a price similar to what Boston offered if that's what it took to keep him in a Texas Rangers uniform?
I don't. It's easy to look back now and say the Rangers should have handed Napoli a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer. If he can get three years, he would have declined that and the Rangers would have a draft pick. But the Rangers didn't have the luxury of knowing that market when they made the decision. But when it comes to whether they should go three years for a player who was banged up last year and struggled at the plate, that's a different call. Napoli would have had more chances to catch in Texas, but he'll be hitting in Fenway Park, a place that appears to suit him, and he'll have the security of a three-year deal. At $13 million a year, I can see why the Rangers wouldn't want to go three years guaranteed.
That doesn't change the fact that a fan favorite isn't returning. My Twitter feed shows that disappoints many of you and it does me too. He was fun to have in the clubhouse, fit in tremendously well with the club culture as a whole and produced one of the greatest second halves of baseball ever seen (the guy would have been the World Series MVP in 2011 had the Rangers won). He'll be missed. And now the Rangers need another catcher.
But I wouldn't have given Napoli that third guaranteed year at that price tag. Would you?